Official Community Plan and Climate Emergency Team

Read transition Sooke’s op-ed: “Why pausing some development in Sooke is a good idea” here.

Transition Sooke Asks for Hold on New Development

Transition Sooke made a delegation to Sooke Council on December 13, 2021 to state that Council should put a hold on all new development until the new Official Community Plan (OCP) is completed, zoning and building bylaws align with the new OCP, and a Climate Action Plan is in place that specifies how the District will meet its goal of a 50% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.

 “The District has already approved the bulk of its growth commitment to 2030,” said Transition Sooke Director Alan Dolan. “We cannot meet our greenhouse gas emissions targets if we keep growing at the present rate. And we can’t maintain the small-town — close to the ocean, forests and fields — that everyone says they treasure.”

Download Transition Sooke’s presentation here.

Download the complete news release here.

Affordable Housing and the Climate Emergency

Transition Sooke has written a letter to the District of Sooke expressing support for affordable, non-market housing. However, we are very concerned about BC Housing’s developments on Charters Road and Drennan Street and are requesting the District of Sooke to ask BC Housing to bring their buildings into alignment with the District’s climate emergency goals.

The buildings will add to Sooke’s greenhouse gas emissions. Units will be heated with baseboard electric heaters instead of heat pumps, which would be far more efficient and cheaper to run. There is no air conditioning, which the heat pumps could also provide. During the heat dome this past summer, residents in these building would have been subjected to a serious health threat. The buildings contain no solar elements and do not have electric car charging stations.

Truly affordable housing is badly needed and fundamental to the sustainability of Sooke and the wellness of its residents. But these buildings will be expensive to operate, may be uncomfortable and even unhealthy for residents, and will make it very difficult to meet the greenhouse gas emission targets of the District.

Download the complete letter here.

Transition Sooke makes major contribution to OCP engagement process

Transition Sooke made a significant submission to the engagement process for Sooke’s draft Official Community Plan (OCP). The document was developed by the OCP and Climate Emergency Team. The Team has been meeting almost weekly for over a year. See submission.

Transition Sooke supports Climate Action Committee’s 7% Solution

You can read and download the letter as a PDF file here.

Town Hall Success

Residents Respond to “Growing Pains”

About 40 people attended Transition Sooke’s virtual Town Hall “To Grow or Not to Grow, Developing a Liveable Sooke in a Climate Emergency” on Saturday June 26, 2021.
The Town Hall began with the video “Growing Pains,” which featured Sooke residents talking about their community and the impacts of growth on it. Participants then went into small groups to talk about the film, growth in Sooke, and what to do about it. Discussion was lively, participants were full of ideas, and attendance included several members of the District of Sooke’s advisory committees and two councillors.

Transition Sooke volunteer Susan Belford produced comprehensive proceedings of the Town Hall, which you can download here.

There will be a second Town Hall in late August/early September.

To watch the video “Growing Pains” on YouTube, see below or go here.

Does Low Carbon Resilience (LCR) put Climate First?

The District of Sooke recently adopted Low Carbon Resilience (LCR) as “a green lens that balances the co-benefits of environmental, economic and social determinants and aligns with Sustainable Development Goals” and is supposed to address greenhouse gas emissions of new projects and help the community meet its target. 
Transition Sooke had offered up a Climate-First approach (see below). Read here why we think the District’s approach is problematic.

Alternative Low Carbon / Low Growth Scenario for OCP

The growth scenarios (Scenarios A – C) proposed by Dialog in the Official Community Plan (OCP) engagement process assume that Sooke would double its population to 25,000 residents in the next 30 years. Transition Sooke has estimated that the increase in local greenhouse gas emissions and loss of carbon sink arising from that rate of residential growth would set us back seriously from meeting our climate emergency goal.

With the climate emergency in mind, Transition Sooke is proposing a fourth Scenario D, a much more sustainable and liveable scenario based on “low carbon/low growth” and a future that protects the citizens of Sooke and does not mortgage the future of the younger generation.

Scenario D was recently sent to members of the OCP Advisory Committee for their consideration. Download Scenario D here.

A news release was issued to Victoria-area media. Read it here.

Growth and development in Sooke are destroying carbon sinks and are increasing greenhouse gases. Photo: Stephen Hindrichs

What is Climate-First?

Transition Sooke’s OCP and Climate Action Team prepared a document that defines the concept of climate-first and submitted it to Sooke Council. If Sooke is going to meet its climate emergency goals, it needs to ensure that a climate-first approach is taken in all municipal decision making and planning processes including the Official Community Plan (OCP). Read the Climate-First Definition here.

Presentation to OCP Advisory Committee

On February 25, 2021, Alan Dolan and Susan Belford of Transition Sooke’s OCP and Climate Emergency Team, made a presentation to the District of Sooke’s OCP Advisory Committee (see below), which is one of a number of committees providing advice to Sooke Council.

The carbon emission numbers in the presentation are based on the Capital Regional District’s Community Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory Report, Stantec (2020) and Capital Region District – Municipalities and Electoral Areas 2007 Base Year and 2018 Reporting Year Energy & GHG Emissions Inventory, Stantec (2020).

One of the first things Sooke needs to do as part of a Climate Action plan is develop better numbers for Sooke’s emissions.

If you find the presentation confusing or daunting or just not understandable, all you really need to remember is that:

  • In 2019, Sooke supported the CRD Declaration of a Climate Emergency with a goal of carbon neutrality by 2030.
  • If we build more houses in Sooke and fill them with 2.5 people per house and they do what people do — heat their houses, cook and eat, travel, etc. — even if the new houses are super energy efficient (which most of them won’t be) there will be an increase in greenhouse gas emissions
  • If you combine this increase in emissions with the emissions from existing buildings, houses and vehicles, we will not meet our climate emergency goal.
  • We need to drastically reduce our emissions eventually to zero, if we want to truly address the climate emergency.
  • The loss of the carbon sink, which disappears when you develop houses on land with soils, trees and other vegetation, makes it a “double whammy,” a lose-lose, that goes on forever.

Download the presentation.

Meeting with Dialog Consulting

On October 28, 2020, members of the OCP and Climate Emergency Team met briefly with Dialog, the Vancouver consulting firm undertaking the OCP, along with Sooke’s planners. We followed up with additional written feedback.

Notes from the meeting and the follow-up feedback can be downloaded here.

Presentation to Sooke Council

Since August 2020, a group of Transition Sooke volunteers has been meeting to determine how best to ensure that Climate Change is addressed in Sooke’s Official Community Plan (OCP) review.

On September 14, 2020, volunteer Susan Belford of the OCP and Cimate Action Team made a presentation at a regular meeting of Sooke Council.

Download the presentation here.